Oak Park Journal Profiles Young Center's Maria Woltjen

Oak Park advocate for immigrant children, alone in America

In the trenches of the fight for U.S. immigration reform is Oak Parker Maria Woltjen.

With a dedicated staff of about 80 volunteer bi-lingual guardians ad litem (Child Advocates), she is fervently standing up as the federal immigration system for the best interests of a rapidly growing group of unaccompanied immigrant children.  

These kids count on The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights at the University of Chicago for support as they face the possibility of deportation alone, without their parents.

As its founder, Woltjen says the tens of thousands of these unaccompanied children have made incredible journeys from places like Bosnia, Romania, India, China, Central America, and other noncontiguous countries, hoping to find relief and protection from a homeland that is no longer safe.

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